Tips for Watering Your Nursery Effectively and Efficiently

Having a nursery and being surrounded by plants and greenery can be very satisfying. However, when you have a nursery, you also need to decide how to water it effectively and efficiently. This decision is based on various factors, such as the kind of plants being grown in the nursery, the number of plants, the irrigation systems you are contemplating, capacity of water pumps and the cost to setup and maintain those systems. Usually, it is best to have a combination of two or more watering systems for efficient use of water and meet the needs of the plants you are growing.

Some of the methods you can use to water your nursery include the following.

Hand Watering

If you have a small nursery with not many plants, you can hand water them. Although labor intensive and time consuming, you can monitor the watering carefully and keep a close watch on the plants. This monitoring allows you to catch diseases early and take measures to treat them. However, you would have to invest in a long hose to cover the length and breadth of the nursery and also ensure you have multiple water spouts for effective watering.

Drip Systems

These irrigation systems are quite effective in watering plants in nurseries. There is hardly any wastage of water and the slow method of watering allows the water to penetrate deep into the soil. But most drip systems do not have enough emitters, so you would have to add more to ensure every part of the nursery is covered.


These are cheap to set up and easy to install. If you want, you can also include a timer that turns the sprinklers on and off. If your nursery is large, this is one of the most effective ways of watering your plants. However, this system of watering does waste a lot of water and many times it can miss watering certain plants. Furthermore, sprinklers can cause constant dampness and this can become a breeding ground for pathogens and plant infections.


Bubblers can also be used to water plants in nurseries. They can save more water compared to drip irrigation or hand watering. These are available in different flow rates, so you can choose based on the watering needs of the plants. Bubblers can easily be attached to swing pipes, pipe nipples and shrub sticks.


How Much Water Do Your Plants Need?

Maintaining a nursery requires you to ensure that all plants are well watered and fed. The amount of water your plants need will depend primarily on three things:

  • The watering method used
  • The size of the roots
  • The kind of soil

 When watering make sure the root zone is completely filled with water. You can check this by piercing the soil with a stick. If the stick slides in effortlessly through the soil, you have watered the soil sufficiently.

How Often Should You Water the Plants?

This is another important question and many times people tend to over water or underwater plants. Usually, it is advisable to water plants in the nursery three times a week during summer and once a week during winter. This frequency of watering is used for plants that are well established. New plants that you bring into the nursery should be watered everyday for a period of two weeks.

At the same time, it also is important to take into consideration the weather, the type of plant, how mature it is and the soil type. It goes without saying that in hot summer months plants require more water than in winter and you should adjust the watering based on the weather. Young plants require more water to prevent wilting, and for some types of plants, the need for water is greater compared to others. For instance, roses require more water and hence should be heavily watered. If the soil is sandy and/or compact, you would have to water your plants more frequently.

Tips for Watering Your Nursery Efficiently

  • Try to install a filter, so that the salt in the water cannot damage the foliage of the plants should the water land on the leaves.
  • Cover the base of the plant with mulch to keep soil damp and discourage growth of weeds. Look to place about 3 to 4 inches of mulch. This will reduce the need to water the plant frequently.
  • Use water pump to get the right water pressure in your irrigation system.
  • Twice a year, water the plants for a longer period of time to remove salts lodged in the soil around the roots.
  • If you are using hand watering method, get a tap timer to prevent overwatering of plants.
  • As the plant grows, increase the area of watering.

Shivani is associated with TotalWaterServices, a leading Australian company providing industrial and domestic water solutions. Are you planning to install water pumps? Need help with waste water treatment or want to build irrigation systems?

Categories:   Home Improvement


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